Nepal to declare Everest off limits to inexperienced climbers

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Photo by flickr user xinquinhosilva. Used via cc:. All rights revert to originator.
Photo by flickr user xinquinhosilva. Used via cc:. All rights revert to originator.

…and all I can say is ‘it’s about time’.

Permits to climb Everest will only be given to those who can prove they have already scaled mountains that are higher than 6,500 metres, officials said. Disabled, old and very young people also face bans.

“We cannot let everyone go on Everest and die. If they are not physically and mentally fit it will be like a legal suicide,” he said.

“The disabled or visually impaired people usually need someone to carry them, which is not an adventure. Only those who can go on their own will be given permission.”

While I’m not a fan of sweeping bans based on items like age or disability, it’s important to remember that for Nepalese and Tibetans Mt. Everest is known as Sagarmāthā and Chomolungma:  ‘forehead of the sky’ and ‘Goddess Mother of Mountains’ respectively. To conceptualize a place with preexisting spiritual connotations as a public convenience is fraught with peril on the face of it. No one is ‘entitled’ to go there, and those foreigners who do are first and always guests. Some of those who make a business of carting well-heeled adventure travelers to Everest’s summit will surely be found at the forefront of support for this measure, but others will inevitably chafe not so much at the bite in their bottom line but the idea that in Nepal there are again places money can’t go.

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